If Google Really Wants to be Useful to Me…

Filed under: Maps & Cartography — geoLibro @ 6:09 pm

…They can swoop in to hundreds of academic libraries in this country (or others) and scan the thousands and thousands of maps that have always been and are mostly still uncataloged and even largely unaccounted for. Almost every issue of the ALA MAGERT bulletin baseline includes a somewhat depressing round-up of the state of map record availability in academic library OPACs. Digitization projects, a few high-powered exceptions aside, are also not terribly abundant or comprehensive. Since Google has, sorry, but googles of dollars, why can’t they just send a robot in to scan our map collections? Those exist, right? Then they can hire thousands of people to rectify them. Maybe it’s already happening.


Plug Up ka-Map

Filed under: GISUI (GIS User Interfaces), Open Source GIS — geoLibro @ 1:32 am

This is going to work out fine, yes. I’ve been toying with the notion that the open source ka-Map might just be smooth enough (built on top of MapServer‘s robust enough) to handle some of the web mapping projects we have coming up. ka-Map is a javascript and php-built front end that takes MapServer’s output and tiles it, precaches it, then renders it within any number of web environments, a number of which come pre-built with the source. Think Google Maps to MapServer’s ArcIMS. So after a couple of false starts, one of which was due to a mysterious incompatibility somewhere within the string of libraries required to run it on OS X (it set up with no problem on Ubuntu and one of the grad assistants got it set up on Windows with a little text editing), everything fell into place this past weekend. Now in just a couple of days I have map attributes (shapefile) query and search running, have those queries then throwing out to some other database.

…And back! What’s the point? Well, Google recently attached map searches to their Book Search results. MetaCarta has been leading the pack on the same thing. What we have going here is something a little like that, but without the great power of the former and the awesome natural language processing of the latter. Specifically, we’re supposed to have an old soil survey of Tippecanoe County, IN scanned, its map scanned and rectified and, in fact, digitized, and ka-Map is going to allow us to run searches back and forth between the text of the survey and the data layers extracted from the map. In our minds it will be a great combination of library work and GIS and ka-Map is getting us closer every couple of weeks.

draft of ka-Map installation

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